Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 10 Ghost Stories for the First Half of the 19th Century

Top 10 Ghost Stories for the First Half of the 19th Century.


10. The Ghostly Visiter; or, The Mysterious Invalid (1833)

This anonymous ghost story was published in a "penny dreadful" magazine in 1833. It is one of the most chilling ghost stories in relation to an incapacitated person for this fifty year period in review.

9. The Tapestried Chamber (1827)

Sir Walter Scott was a leading proponent of supernatural tales in Europe. The Tapestried Chamber is the second oldest scary story on this countdown and contains moments of sheer terror.

8. Adventure of the German Student (1831)

Washington Irving is best known for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," but the "Adventure of the German Student" is as compact a fright as one will find in a little ghost story.

7. The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet (1837)

Nathaniel Hawthorne makes his only appearance in the Top 10 with a horror tale that is superbly written. It was also an Edgar Allan Poe favorite.

6. The Spectral Ship (1828)

Wilhelm Hauff died in his mid-twenties, yet still showed early promise that he could have been one of the all time great supernatural writers. "The Spectral Ship" leaves an indelible tang of horror.

5. A Night in a Haunted House (1848)

This anonymous ghost story is the longest of the Top 10 and will make a person think twice when they hear a thump coming up the stairs.

4. The Mask of the Red Death (1842)

"The Mask of the Red Death" is perhaps Edgar Allan Poe's finest ghost story. The writing and symbolism are unparalleled for this period in question.

3. A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family (1839)

Joseph Sheridan le Fanu was the early king of the short ghost story. He would later go on to publish "Green Tea" and other ghostly classics.

2. The Deaf and Dumb Girl (1839)

This is the third anonymous story in the Top 10 and the very best of the lot. It will make you think twice when you see a quiet girl with ashen skin sit next to you on a train.

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1819)

Washington Irving's most popular ghost story--and perhaps the most popular ghost short story of all time (assuming Dickens's "A Christmas Carole" is a novella)--is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Although typically disfavored in a scary ghost story, it is one of the first to do it without losing the element of terror and it is the oldest in the Top 10, which gives the story high marks for originality and creativity. 

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology includes story introductions, author photos, annotations and a list of ghost stories read. Buy it tonight!

The Best Ghost Stories at Google Books

The Best Ghost Stories at Barnes & Noble

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